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Riow Arai -- Mind Edit and Circuit '72

Welcome to the music review at RPG! Our goal is help people see the soundtracks they listen to in a better light as well as help the RPG music lovers out there know what to get and know what crap they should stay the hell away from before they're stuck listening to something so bad, they'll want to drive ice picks into their ears to relieve the pain.

Enjoying the festivities at the Millennial Fair so far? 'Course you are! This isn't quite RPG music, it's not even game music, but it's music by someone who has composed RPG music in the past -- Riow Arai! What, didn't you read the Front Mission Alternative review? Anyway, here's our head soundtrack reviewer, Shiryuu's, take on two of Arai's albums. If you want to see more, just go here for the rest of the Front Mission stuff.

To view our previous reviews, check out the archives
Circuit '72

Riow Arai is easily one of the most original musical artists as of late. His ability to break up his compositions and re-arrange them to his hearts’ content makes his music very interesting to listen to. Unlike most Techno, Funk, Dance, Trance musicians, Arai follows no specific rules when working on his pieces, at times it can be a quiet piano solo, other times it ends up chaotic as a almost unlistenable cacophony of sounds and beats. One of his better works is Circuit’72, let’s have a closer look at it.

It starts off with “Intro”, basically, you hear an electronic voice quoting phrases in French while it is backed up by some suspenseful music. “Cell” is an interesting piano piece, accompanied by techno beats here and there. While it is indeed repetitive, it manages to entrance the listener to the very end. “Strange Cart” is another beat-filled piece, with some of Arai’s trademark broken beats, it may not sound like much, but it keeps me listening. “So Back!!!” sounds like a bunch of bells followed by the usual techno beats, but it quickly changes pace and becomes quite chaotic. Worth listening to ? You bet. “Luv Converse” is the best track on the CD, hands down. It is a wonderful piano solo with a few techno beats, in which you hear voice samples left and right About n the middle of the piece, it gets really mellow and proves that Arai can do more than just techno and funk, he can also do jazz music, while I love a whole lot. “Dam” is slightly creepy with the wave-y effects, and the techno beats makes it sound even better. “Contemporary” is what I call the “New Age” track of the CD. It is starts off with a flowing synth effect, which is quickly accompanied by well placed beats. At a certain point, weird techno effects take place, followed by an eastern type of flute, and laughter follows, and more flowing synth comes around with the occasional laugh, more flute sounds. This is easily the most unexpected track in the album. “Wandering” gets my award for “noisiest” track. It starts off with a bit of guitar… a bit of piano, weird techno/space effects, then the aural chaos starts, it can be very hard to listen to this entire track as it is so unstable, it gets mellow for a second, gets obnoxious the next and so forth. This track is only for the truly open-minded. “Apple” starts off with some synthesizer, which is quickly followed by loud beats, this track doesn’t have much variety, yet it’s always worthy a listen. “Electric Apartment” is another track that I am really fond of. It is entirely electronic, yet I just find the grooves so cool here. The best part is when you hear the words “Electric Apartment”. Later on a female electronic voice will often repeat “Left”, “Right”, “Left”, “Right”. If you have headphones, “Left” will be heard in your left ear and “Right” in the other, neat stuff right there. It ends up with “Seventeen”. It is a mellow track with beats and a female choir, a little of piano at best… this is once more a great track to chill out to.

Want this CD ? Unless you live in Japan, you’re fresh out of luck. The publisher, Soup Disk, still does not ship internationally. You can always keep an eye out on eBay, it’s how I got my copy :P And hey….. for 5$...... you can’t beat that….. or can you ? Anyways…. For you eBayers, look up the seller “LiquidChrist”, he seems to be specializing in electronic music CDs.

Mind Edit

After the wonderful Circuit’72, Riow Arai continues to innovate with his 3rd CD, being Mind Edit. In it, he often snips is compositions apart and uses a cut/paste method to create an interesting variety of music. Let’s go right to it.

It starts off with “Intro”, unlike Circuit’72’s, it doesn’t offer much, yet it is still interesting to listen. “Undulation” is a great mix of beats, bells and synth effects, it lasts for about 7 minutes, but it a 7 minutes well spent in my opinion. “Inter” is pretty much the same as Intro, I still find myself listening to it despite its short length. “Disturbance” is the winner of the most well-rounded track in my opinion. It’s hardly annoying, nor mellow, it’s just right. You hear a guitar throughout the piece, backed up by techno beats. At a certain point, Arai will break the beats up….. And he will fool you in making you think the disc stops playing for a second or two…. That was very clever, in my opinion. “Gyrate” is a beat-fest, perfect for break-dancing to. “Hyp” is similar to “Gyrate”, but manages to add a guitar here and there, which I find not only fitting, but interesting. “Gold” is a slow-paced track, but eventually picks up the pace with a few well placed beats. “Flatter” is the oddball of the bunch, you constantly hear odd electronic voices, this is defenately dance/funk material at its best, after a while, you hear some more synth effects, all backed up by techno beats. “Break Roads” is a bit harder to listen to because those synth effects are a bit too loud, but it’s interesting when Arai starts to break up his beats. “Trillion” is a mellower track, it has this funny voice effect, always accompanied by beats, I actually find some parts humorous for a reason or another. “I Dine At Daybreak” is the mellowest track in the bunch. If you listen closely, you’ll hear some people speak in French, nice touch right there. Like “Luv Converse” from Circuit’72, Arai manages to make a sweet piece, which it’s just nice to chill out to.

Is Mind Edit worth it ? I’d say yes, but you might want to check out Riow Arai’s webpage at Listen to the samples, if you enjoy those, look up the links he supplies. It recently got a re-edit by the British Publisher, Leaf. I have yet to hear his latest works, being Beat Bracelet, Mind Edit Syndicate and Device People, but there is no doubt in my mind that I would enjoy them greatly.Is Mind Edit worth it ? I’d say yes, but you might want to check out Riow Arai’s webpage at Listen to the samples, if you enjoy those, look up the links he supplies. It recently got a re-edit by the British Publisher, Leaf. I have yet to hear his latest works, being Beat Bracelet, Mind Edit Syndicate and Device People, but there is no doubt in my mind that I would enjoy them greatly.